The little wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera), also known as the brush wattlebird, is a honeyeater, a passerine bird in the family Meliphagidae. It is found in coastal and sub-coastal south-eastern Australia.
The species was originally described by the ornithologist John Latham in 1801 under the binomial name Merops chrysoptera. Its specific epithet is derived from the Ancient Greek chryso "golden", and pteron "wing(ed)".
- A. c. chrysoptera (Latham, 1801) – eastern and southeastern Australia
- A. c. halmaturina (Mathews, 1912) – Kangaroo Island (off southern Australia)
- A. c. tasmanica (Mathews, 1912) – Tasmania
The little wattlebird is a medium to large honeyeater, but the smallest wattlebird. The appearance is similar to the yellow wattlebird and the red wattlebird. The little wattlebird lacks the wattles which characterise the wattlebirds.
Juveniles are duller with less streaking and have a browner eye.
Distribution and habitat
Calls include a strident cookay-cok, a raucous fetch the gun, a mellow guttural yekkop, yekkop and many squeaky, musical lilting notes. The alarm call is a kwock or shnairt!.
Breeding takes place from June to December. The female wattlebird generally constructs the nest, a loose, untidy cup of twigs lined with shredded bark and placed from 1 to 10m high in the fork of a banksia, tea-tree or eucalypt sapling. 1-2 eggs are laid and may be spotted red-brown, purplish red or salmon-pink in colour. The female incubates the eggs alone. Both sexes care for young chicks.
Little wattlebirds feed on nectar obtained with a long, brush-tipped tongue, adapted for probing deep into flowers. They also feed on insects, berries and some seeds. Most feeding is done perched but some insects are caught in mid-air. Birds may feed alone or in groups.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Anthochaera chrysoptera". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Latham, John (1801). Supplementum indicis ornithologici sive systematis ornithologiae (in Latin). London: Leigh & Sotheby. p. xxxiii.
- Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Honeyeaters". World Bird List Version 5.4. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Liddell, Henry George & Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.
- Salomonsen, F. (1967). "Family Maliphagidae, Honeyeaters". In Paynter, R.A. Jnr. Check-list of birds of the world (Volume 12). Cambridge, Mass.: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 446.
- Birds in Backyards - Little Wattlebird
- Pizzey, Graham; Knight, Frank (1997). Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Sydney, Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 111. ISBN 0-207-18013-X.
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